Investing.com -- Oil prices retreated further in Asian trade on Monday after logging four straight weeks of losses amid concerns over slowing economic growth, with focus now turning to more economic data and a slew of Federal Reserve speakers this week.
Crude markets saw scant support as recent data pointed to worsening economic conditions in the U.S. and China - the world’s two biggest oil consumers. This pushed up concerns that oil demand will see a much slower-than-expected recovery this year, weighing on prices.
Strength in the dollar, which rebounded from over one-year lows, also kept prices under pressure, as markets dialed back bets that the Fed will trim interest rates this year.
Brent oil futures sank 0.7% to $73.67 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 0.7% to $69.56 a barrel by 21:19 ET (01:19 GMT). Both contracts fell between 1.8% and 2% over the past week.
Recent data from China indicates that a post-COVID economic rebound in the world’s largest oil importer is running out of steam, particularly as the country’s massive manufacturing sector struggles with slowing demand.
Chinese inflation has also failed to pick up despite the lifting of anti-COVID restrictions, indicating that consumers remain wary of spending big in the aftermath of the pandemic.
This has spurred doubts over forecasts that a recovery in China will drive oil demand to record highs this year, even as the OPEC recently doubled down on its forecast for a recovery. A monthly report from the International Energy Agency, due on Tuesday, is also expected to provide more cues on that end.
In the U.S., weak consumer sentiment data released on Friday further rattled markets over a slowdown in the world’s largest economy. This was coupled with growing uncertainty over the U.S. debt ceiling, as well as renewed concerns of a banking collapse in the country.
Focus this week is now on a slew of Fed speakers, most notably Chair Jerome Powell on Friday, for more insight into U.S. monetary policy. But signs of stubborn U.S. inflation saw markets rethink expectations that the Fed will cut interest rates this year, which in turn boosted the dollar and dented oil markets.